Skip to main content

Greece: Mitsotakis regime dives deeper into authoritarianism

 
In a moment where Mitsotakis regime in Greece blatantly fails to respond to all the big challenges, and particularly the COVID-19 pandemic - which is out of control with the national health system now beyond its limits - the rise of prices and the terrible shape of the Greek economy in general (National Debt exceeds now 200% of GDP), the regime decided to pass another authoritarian law.
 
As we wrote in May, any big scandals, or cases of extreme police violence are coming on surface thanks to the social media and the independent press affiliated to the opposition. That's because the big media of the Greek oligarchy support the regime tooth and nail through an unprecedented propaganda, while the regime also controls the national public broadcaster (ERT) as it has put its own people in key positions. 
 
As they regime increasingly fails to deal with the big problems (and refuses to reinforce the national health system in the peak of the pandemic), it becomes more and more authoritarian so that to cover its ineffectiveness and to drown any voice of criticism against it. 

As the International Press Institute reported:
 
The undersigned partners of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) today urge the Greek government to withdraw proposed amendments which would introduce fines and jail sentences for journalists found guilty of publishing “false news”. We believe the draft law’s vague definition and punitive sanctions would undermine the freedom of the press and have a chilling effect at a time when independent journalism is already under pressure in Greece.

The proposed amendments to Article 191 of the Criminal Code, brought forward by the Ministry of Justice, would include penalties for those found guilty of disseminating “false news that is capable of causing concern or fear to the public or undermining public confidence in the national economy, the country’s defense capacity or public health”. It adds: “If the transaction was performed repeatedly through the press or online, the perpetrator is punished with imprisonment of at least six months and a fine”. The publisher or owner of a media outlet responsible would also face prison and financial penalties.

Our organisations understand the serious threat that misinformation poses to Greek society and other states around the world. Globally, online falsehoods and conspiracy theories are distorting reality, undermining democracy and jeopardising the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. Social media companies, individual citizens and governments themselves all have a role to play in countering the spread of harmful misinformation online.

However, the passing of heavy-handed legislation by governments which grants regulators or prosecutors the power to decide true from false and levy punitive fines on the press is not the correct response and would result in more harm than good. As we have seen around the globe, subjective interpretation of such vaguely worded laws can open the door to censorship of legitimate reporting. Media in Greece already face threats from abusive litigation and jail sentences for criminal defamation. Strengthening Article 191 would only create an additional avenue for journalists to face prosecution and jail time. Even when not applied directly, the potential for self-censorship under such legislation is enormous.

Like other similar legislative proposals around the world, the amendment contains no clear definition of “false news”. The term is ambiguously defined, broadly applicable and open to misuse. Particularly problematic is the sanctioning of reports “capable of causing concern” or which “undermines public confidence” in state authorities. Journalism which holds power to account naturally shakes the public’s trust in government, just as investigative reporting causes legitimate public concern or anger. Under such a vaguely worded law, this kind of vital watchdog journalism could be targeted by political leaders intent on limiting criticism of their policies. Journalistic unions in Greece have rightly criticised the amendment, warning it could lead to journalists being jailed or fined for reporting on issues such as the pandemic.

Rather than improving the existing Article 191 of the Criminal Code, which is already problematic, the government of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis would take a major step backwards if this law were eventually passed and send a worrying signal about the administration’s commitment to media freedom.
 
Image
 
Recall that recently Mitsotakis angrily defended his government's immigration policy in a heated exchange with a journalist who accused him of lying over the alleged turning away of asylum seekers in the Aegean. During a joint press conference with his Dutch counterpart, Mark Rutte, late on Tuesday, Mitsotakis was accused of "narcissistic abuse" with his denials that Greek authorities are refusing asylum seekers entry at its land and sea borders.

What's most unbelievable is that Mitsotakis began his response with the phrase “I understand that in the Netherlands you have a culture of asking direct questions to politicians, which I very much respect.", essentially implying that in Greece such a culture (which is how real journalists should operate), is not permitted!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

US-backed counter-revolution coup against Cuba blatantly fails

globinfo freexchange   Since at least early 2018, the US imperialists were setting the stage for another coup against Cuba in the form of a "color revolution".  As reported back then:   The US State Department announced a new program called 'The Cuba Internet Task Force'. The Task Force will consist of the US government and non-governmental representatives to "promote the free and unregulated flow of information in Cuba". It is part of the National Security Presidential Memorandum of "strengthening the policy of the United States toward Cuba", that was issued by President Trump in June 2017.   This policy seeks "advancing Cuban human rights; encouraging the growth of a Cuban private sector independent of government control; enforcing final orders of removal against Cuban nationals in the United States". The US has sought to overthrow the Cuban government ever since the 1959 revolution. This is not the first time the US has attempted to

Chris Hedges on Assange, Donziger, & the US prison state

Redacted Tonight   Chris Hedges joins Lee Camp for a conversation around his latest book about teaching in American prisons. They also discuss corruption in the media and the U.S. System of Justice. The persecution of Julian Assange and Steven Donziger have garnered attention over the last few weeks for their egregious displays of judicial corruption in service of the world’s most powerful people. Hedges provides context for your outrage in their cases. He then reveals his experiences teaching prisoners in maximum security facilities and expresses support for incarcerated people who have chosen to protest their living conditions.

Alert: US imperialists prepare counter-revolution coup on November 15th to take over Cuba!

globinfo freexchange   On November 1st, Lee Camp appeared astonished by the fact that the State Department essentially announced a US-backed coup against Cuba in advance!  And not only that. The US imperialists revealed the specific method and the exact date of the counter-revolution coup! The method is the typical one that we've seen in various cases the last decade or so, which involves a type of "color revolution". The date: November 15th. On November 2nd, cadenagramonte.cu website gave the details and the key players of the operation.   On November 3rd, TeleSUR reported that:                                A Cuban government representative said that Cuba has probably been facing up the largest and most complex cultural warfare operation orchestrated by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), promoting a new type of counterrevolution. On Twitter, Cuba's Deputy Foreign Minister Anayansi Rodríguez posted a U.S. plan to bring Cuba's political system down, whic

Οι ολιγάρχες ετοιμάζουν το Plan B που είχαν στο συρτάρι: Συγκυβέρνηση ΝΔ-ΚΙΝΑΛ και επιστροφή της γαλαζοπράσινης λαίλαπας

globinfo freexchange   Το άκρως φιλοκυβερνητικό Βήμα , κομμάτι της συστημικής προπαγάνδας της εγχώριας ολιγαρχίας, έδωσε χθες το σύνθημα για το Plan B των ολιγαρχών που είχαν στο συρτάρι ως εναλλακτική, καθώς δεν χρειάστηκε να το θέσουν σε εφαρμογή, λόγω της αυτοδυναμίας που πέτυχε η Μητσοτακική δεξιά στις εκλογές του Ιουλίου του 2019.    Πρόκειται το σενάριο συγκυβέρνησης ΝΔ-ΚΙΝΑΛ.  Όπως είχαμε γράψει τον Ιούνιο του 19, η ΝΔ (με ή χωρίς δεκανίκια), έχει ως μοναδική αποστολή να συνεχίσει το "λαμπρό" της έργο από εκεί που το άφησε. Βέβαια, η "Αριστερή παρένθεση", που η Τρόικα εσωτερικού και εξωτερικού φρόντισε έτσι και αλλιώς να κουρελιάσει, κράτησε λίγο παραπάνω απ'ότι υπολόγισαν τα "μεγάλα αφεντικά". Τώρα, ήρθε η ώρα να ξεκουμπιστεί, διότι υπάρχει κίνδυνος να θυμηθεί τις Αριστερές της καταβολές και να καταστρέψει το "θεάρεστο" σχέδιο του νεοφιλελεύθερου ιερατείου. Απ'ότι φαίνεται, υπάρχουν πρόθυμα δεκανίκια, για παν ενδεχόμενο. Από τότ

Free Julian Assange: Snowden, Varoufakis, Corbyn & Tariq Ali speak out ahead of extradition hearing

Democracy Now!   As jailed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange faces an extradition hearing Wednesday in London, supporters gathered Friday for the Belmarsh Tribunal, named for the Belmarsh maximum security prison where Assange is being held. The mock trial highlighted major WikiLeaks revelations of U.S. war crimes and demanded Assange’s freedom.    Assange faces up to 175 years in prison in the U.S. under the Espionage Act for publishing classified documents exposing U.S. war crimes. Though a British judge blocked his extradition in January, the U.S. appealed the decision.    Speakers from the tribunal include writer Tariq Ali, Afghan political activist Selay Ghaffar, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis and former Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn.    “ Julian, far from being indicted, should actually be a hero, ” said Ali. “ He should never have been kept in prison for bail. He should not be in prison now awaiting a trial for extradition. He

The most important battle for Press Freedom in our time

If he is extradited and found guilty of publishing classified material it will set a legal precedent that will effectively end national security reporting.   by Chris Hedges  Part 1 For the past two days, I have been watching the extradition hearing for Julian Assange via video link from London. The United States is appealing a lower court ruling that denied the US request to extradite Assange not, unfortunately, because in the eyes of the court he is innocent of a crime, but because, as Judge Vanessa Baraitser in January concluded, Assange’s precarious psychological state would deteriorate given the “ harsh conditions ” of the inhumane US prison system, “ causing him to commit suicide .” The United States has charged Assange with 17 counts under the Espionage Act and one count of trying to hack into a government computer, charges that could see him imprisoned for 175 years. Assange, with long white hair, appeared on screen the first day from the video conference room in HM Prison Belm

Top 1% of US earners now hold more wealth than all of the middle class

by Alexandre Tanzi and Mike Dorning  After years of declines, America’s middle class now holds a smaller share of U.S. wealth than the top 1%. The middle 60% of U.S. households by income -- a measure economists often use as a definition of the middle class -- saw their combined assets drop to 26.6% of national wealth as of June, the lowest in Federal Reserve data going back three decades. For the first time, the super rich had a bigger share, at 27%. The data offer a window into the slow-motion erosion in the financial security of mid-tier earners that has fueled voters’ discontent in recent years. That continued through the Covid-19 pandemic, despite trillions of dollars in government relief .   Rise of the Super Rich   Middle-class Americans now hold less wealth than the top 1% by income.   While “middle class” has different meanings to different people, many economists use income to define the group. The 77.5 million families in the middle 60% make about $27,000 to $141,000 annually

Top media company demands reporters write pro-US/EU/Israel propaganda

The Grayzone   The major media company Axel Springer SE, which owns Politico, Business Insider , and top German newspapers, was exposed for forcing its employees to write pro-US/EU/Israel propaganda. It has also been accused of being funded by the CIA. 

Visionary realism: A green future beyond capitalism - Yanis Varoufakis, Ann Pettifor & Noam Chomsky

DiEM25   "There is no alternative", "it's the end of history" in the shadow of the 2008 crash, the environmental crisis and ongoing COVID19 pandemic, never has the hubris of these words been more striking. Nevertheless if we are in fact at the end of an era, what comes next? Join us in uncovering the exciting possibilities that the future can hold with public intellectual Noam Chomsky and economists Ann Pettifor and Yanis Varoufakis. 

Assange appeal day 2: Extradition decision update

acTVism Munich   A report on the second day of the appeal hearing in the extradition proceedings of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The defense rebutted claims by the US government arguing that the assurances provided can be revoked at any time and are thus unreliable. Additionally, the court heard evidence that US intelligence plotted to assassinate Assange. A decision on extradition will be delivered in the coming weeks.